Alcoa police chief concerned about open carry bill

Alcoa police chief concerned about open carry bill

Posted:
"Sometimes the availability of a gun someone lawfully has in a situation they didn't know would turn into a heated confrontation can lead into something more," said Alcoa Police Chief Philip Potter. "Sometimes the availability of a gun someone lawfully has in a situation they didn't know would turn into a heated confrontation can lead into something more," said Alcoa Police Chief Philip Potter.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - A gun bill passed in the State Senate this week that would allow most Tennesseans to openly carry a handgun without a permit.

4/8/2014 Related story: Tenn. Senate votes for open gun carry without permit

Tennessee would not be setting a precedent if this bill became law. More than half of states already allow residents to openly carry a handgun without a permit. A dozen more, including Tennessee, allow you to openly carry if you have a carry permit, though most permit holders choose to conceal their weapon.

"Sometimes the availability of a gun someone lawfully has in a situation they didn't know would turn into a heated confrontation can lead into something more," said Alcoa Police Chief Philip Potter.

Chief Potter is new to Tennessee, but has 40 years of law enforcement experience in Ohio and North Carolina, both states where a permit is not required for open carry.

"People are not used to that, the general public. When they see it, they're alarmed by it, and they would call 911 and so then that would create an issue for law enforcement to try to resolve," Potter said.

Allowing people to openly carry without a permit also means no training is necessary. 

"I think the concealed carry is a much better method. It requires a permit, a background check," Potter said.

This bill would also allow people to have a handgun in their car without a permit. However, groups such as convicted felons, drug addicts and the mentally ill would be prohibited.

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